Content is the New PR . . . and other stories you may have heard

Tami Belt
Tami Belt
Mar 14 · 5 min read
You need more than ink to build your brand.

Today, everyone specializes in “content” . . . for blogs, for social media for SEO . . . oh, my!

NEWSFLASH!

Content isn’t new.
Content is stories.

Stories are as old as . . . well . . . man.
Cavemen were the original storytellers, communicating with stick figures on walls.

From cave walls to communities to the cosmos, how we share stories has evolved in conjunction with mediums available for scribes.

Everyone has a story as unique as the character it belongs to . . . from companies to charities, CEOs to entrepreneurs and everyone in between.

Today, Public Relations professionals are Storytellers who utilize a myriad of mediums to spark conversations, build relationships and shape brands.

Let me explain:
Public Relations is the strategic crafting of your story, your message.

Publicity is the result of your story being placed in front of your target audience through social, print and electronic media.

Public Relations goes beyond telling your story to engaging your public in conversations. It’s about connecting and building relationships.

Communication has come a long way, baby.

It’s a two way street.

Thanks to social media and other technology we can engage in conversations. The ability to listen to our customers and community to know what they think and want is game changing. Are you in the game?

According to Scott Bedbury, ‘A great brand is a story that’s never completely told.’

That’s good news!

You see, your brand isn’t your logo, your tagline or even what you say it is.

Your Brand is a perception in the mind of customers.
You don’t own it, they do.

The good news is you can help shape their perception through stories, the ‘content’ you share. The key is to communicate clearly and consistently in every message across all mediums:

— articles and blogs

— bios
— client testimonials

— social media
— collateral material

— web site copy

While stories help shape the perception, before you know what stories to tell you first have to know where you are in the mind of your customers.

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Once you know where you stand in your customer’s mind, you can begin to shape the perception. It takes more than randomly throwing stories . . . uh content . . . out there hoping something will stick. Random stories, like random ads, don’t work. There has to be a purpose to your prose.

You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, so why communicate without a plan? Communicating without a plan is risky business.

Clear, consistent and strategically planned communication is key to realizing your organization’s goals. A well-designed communication plan can help you:

• build your brand
• position you as a leader in your industry and community
• connect you with clients, community and employees
• create customer evangelists
• communicate effectively through targeted media channels
• provide clear direction in a crisis
• establish you as a valuable and reliable resource in the media and your industry

Make sure your message . . . uh content . . . fits the medium.
It’s about what’s news to the audience, not to you.
Here’s a few places you can start building strategic communication strategy:

Web Site

Your web site is a living billboard for your company. It houses:
• Bios
• Blogs
• Testimonials
• Case Studies
• Company story
• Customer and employee stories
• News stories
• Media Interviews
• Videos
• Photos
What story does your web site tell?

Community Engagement
Translating the mission, vision and values of your company into a customized community engagement strategy is the key to building lasting relationships. Capitalizing on them through a well-crafted communication strategy connects you with your clients, community and employees.

Research shows that companies that are involved in their communities:
• enjoy higher employee satisfaction and retention rates
• are viewed more favorably by customers
• increase market share from customers who switch brands to support a cause in which they believe
• help strengthen the community in which they serve, creating a better place to live and do business
• get more press coverage from what they do in the community than what
they do as a company

It’s not what you sell it’s what you stand for.

Social Media
Social Media is comprised of communities.
Knowing how to communicate in each one is part of a strategic communication plan.
This is the place to engage in conversations, listen and build relationships.
It’s a community, not a commercial.
• A clear purpose is the roadmap for navigating each social media neighborhood
• Ensure the message fits the medium and supports your purpose.
• Just because you post doesn’t mean you’re communicating. Just because someone responds doesn’t mean you’re engaging in conversation.
• Learn the etiquette and remain positive.
• Like a good neighbor, don’t show up empty handed — contribute value.
• Be responsive, don’t leave customers on hold.
• Establish communication guidelines.
• If you wouldn’t let them meet with and talk to customers, don’t let them respond for you on social media.

The real story about content.

Social media and technology have empowered communication on many levels. We must, however, remain aware of our consumption. Even though a diet of junk food might satisfy our appetite, it isn’t healthy. The same is true of a diet of junk media. Not everything you read is true. Just because someone can search for ‘facts’ and write a post doesn’t make them a journalist. Just because someone can tell a story doesn’t make them a ‘content’ professional. Public Relations is so much more than a story, it’s a communication strategy that reaches beyond a ‘content calendar’. Just because someone can take a photo doesn’t make them a photographer. There are techniques, strategies, ethics and experience that separate professionals from amateurs

This doesn’t mean that amateur contributions aren’t worthy, they are often instrumental in documenting breaking news, creating awareness for a cause or providing entertainment. Today, more than ever, we must remain diligent about the content we digest. Not every story is true. Not every content creator is trustworthy. Don’t believe every story you read. In conversation, as with content, always consider the source.

For more insights, ideas and inspiration to help you share your story visit www.1bluecube.com.

Tami Belt

Written by

Tami Belt

Tami Belt is an award-winning Public Relations professional, author and speaker. Client Evangelist | Vegas Native | Rock/Jazz Fan • www.1bluecube.com

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